Pancreatic cancer occurs when mutations in DNA cause cells in the pancreas to grow abnormally and uncontrollably. What triggers these gene mutations in the pancreas is still unclear, but researchers have identified several risk factors that may increase an individual’s chances of developing this disease.
Pancreatic cancer risk factors
A risk factor is just that – a factor that may leave you at a higher risk of developing certain conditions. Some risk factors can’t be changed, while others are behaviors that can be modified. Known risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:
- Being male
- Having a family history of pancreatic cancer
- Being older than 45
- Having certain genetic syndromes, including Lynch syndrome and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome
- Smoking and using other forms of tobacco
- Having diabetes or chronic pancreatitis
- Frequent exposure to certain chemicals
- Being overweight
It’s important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will develop pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is an uncommon disease that many people with several of these risk factors will never experience. On the other hand, it’s still possible to develop pancreatic cancer even if you don’t have any known risk factors.
Pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment at Moffitt
Moffitt Cancer Center caters to people in all stages of their pancreatic cancer journey. Whether you would like to speak with a genetic counselor about genetic testing and your individual risks, need a second opinion regarding a diagnosis or want to participate in our ambitious clinical trials program, Moffitt can provide the assistance and highly specialized care you require.
Take the first step toward visiting Moffitt by calling 1-888-663-3488 or filling out a new patient registration form online. A referral is not required to come to Moffitt, and all of our services are available in one location for your convenience.